Italian Soccer Star, Davide Astori Dies in His Sleep, Aged 31

Following the tragic passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori over the weekend the footballing world came to a standstill, resulting the cancellation of all Serie A matches that weekend.

The centre-back earned 14 caps for the Azzurri and the Italian Football Federation tweeted their "profound condolences" to Astori's family as well as to the "directors, coaches and players who knew and respected Davide throughout Italian football".

Astori, 31, was found dead in his hotel room in Udine on Sunday, hours before his team were due to face Udinese, and a day before he was set to sign a new contract that would have tied him to the Serie A club for the rest of his career.

Astori joined Fiorentina on loan in August 2015 and the club signed him outright one year later.

This included loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina before his permanent move.

It was announced yesterday that the 31-year-old, an Italian worldwide defender who was the captain of Fiorentina, had passed away after a "sudden illness".

Astori made his Italy debut in 2011 and played at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil where he scored against Uruguay.

Davide Astori was born in Bergamo and played for local team Pontisola before joining AC Milan in 2006.

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But the pain felt and the tears cried for the Captain of my team was real on Sunday morning, a feeling of loss that I will never forget.

Juventus goalkeeper and Italy great Buffon paid tribute to his friend in an Instagram post, where he spoke of a "truly good person", along with a picture of the two captains exchanging pennants before a club match.

Former Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was one of the first to pay tribute.

The teams were already on the pitch and warming up for the lunchtime match between Genoa and Cagliari when news broke of Astori's death.

Prosecutors in Italy are investigating if manslaughter charges could be brought following the shock death of footballer Davide Astori. I don't believe it and I cry with the family and everyone at Fiorentina.

Astori leaves behind his wife, Francesca Fioretti, and their 2-year-old daughter.

"Maybe he completed his task in this chaotic world and he went to a better world than this one". My honest compliments, you were one of the best sporting figures I ever came up against. "How many times did we laugh together?"

Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, said the city would observe a day of mourning for the player's funeral.

  • Tabitha Byrd